Twitter has hidden one of Donald Trump’s tweets, which it says violates its rules by glorifying violence. Rather than being deleted, the tweet has been tagged with a label and can still be read if it’s clicked on.
“This Tweet violated the Twitter Rules about glorifying violence,” says the label, applied early Friday. “However, Twitter has determined that it may be in the public’s interest for the Tweet to remain accessible.”
Trump was tweeting about the protests taking place in Minneapolis following the death of George Floyd in police custody. In the hidden tweet, Trump called the protestors “thugs, after threatening to send in the National Guard. “When the looting starts, the shooting starts,” he said.
Twitter’s action comes amid escalating tensions between the company and the White House, following its decision earlier this week to apply a fact-checking label to another of Trump’s tweets for containing “potentially misleading information.” On Thursday, Trumpcalling on the government to review federal law that protects online companies from liability for content posted by users.
Twitter’s use of labels is part of its strategy to crack down on the spread of fake news and other forms of harmful content being posted on its platform, following pressure from governments worldwide to shoulder more responsibility for stemming the flow of misinformation. Once a label has been applied to a tweet, it can no longer be liked, retweeted or replied to, although other Twitter users can retweet the original tweet with their own comment attached.
Twitter further explained its decision to apply a “public interest notice” via its official comms Twitter account on Friday.
“We’ve taken action in the interest of preventing others from being inspired to commit violent acts, but have kept the Tweet on Twitter because it is important that the public still be able to see the Tweet given its relevance to ongoing matters of public importance,” it added.
Critics of the social media company have claimed that by applying labels to tweets, it is censoring free speech. Trump has previously accused social media sites of being, and the that let people report social media accounts they suspected of being banned due to political bias.
Trump hasn’t yet tweeted following Twitter’s decision to hide his latest tweet. Representatives for the White House didn’t immediately respond to request for comment.